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WORLD NEWS - 00:30 UTC, May 11, 2006

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Many thanks to Spag Bolo for posting his script of broadcast dication.

It is zero hours thirty Universal Time, I'm Jim Tedder in Washington.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan says Iran has a responsibility to show the world its nuclear program is peaceful. He says no one is denying the country can have a peaceful nuclear energy program. The United States and many western countries suspect Iran is planning to build a nuclear weapon. Iran denies this. Britain, France and Germany are developing a plan for getting Iran to end its nuclear program. They plan to present it to Iran within weeks along with the threat of UN punishments.

The Israeli military says its aircraft fired 2 missiles into a Palestinian militant camp in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian medical officials say no one was wounded in the attack Wednesday. A group linked to the Fatah party operates the camp near Khan Yunis. The party is led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The Israeli military says militants used it to plan terrorist attacks on Israel. Earlier Wednesday Israeli officials say they will wait until the end of the year before deciding on a plan to set the country's final borders with the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he is willing to wait that long for the new Palestinian government to recognize Israel's right to exist. But Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat says the Palestinians and President Abbas are ready to restart negotiations.

Tens of Thousands of Lebanese marched through Beirut Wednesday. The protestors denounced the government's economic reform plan. They criticized government plans to reduce debt by increasing taxes and cutting some social programs. However, the Lebanese government says the economic measures are still under negotiation. Some lawmakers say the demonstration also was aimed at creating political unrest, and bringing down Lebanon's anti-Syrian government.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is asking for unity in Iraq. He says it is an important step in stopping the violence. He says almost 1,100 people were killed in Baghdad last month. Mr Talabani said Iraqi leaders are shocked and angry over the daily reports of unidentified bodies being found in and around the city. The next Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki did not announce his new cabinet Wednesday. He said Tuesday that the top cabinet positions already have been filled based on nominations by Iraq's Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish political groups.

You are listening to the news in VOA Special English.

The United States has ruled that China is not purposely suppressing the value of its money for economic gain. But it says the Chinese government is making too little progress in reforming its exchange rate. In a report released Wednesday, the United States Treasury Department again expressed concern about China's international economic and exchange rate policies. It said it would closely watch China's progress in putting in place economic reforms. Some American lawmakers are urging legal action as a way to deal with an American trade deficit with China. The deficit hit a record 200,000,000,000 dollars last year.

A top NATO official says member nations face a growing threat of attack by long distance missiles. NATO's Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment urged officials to consider ways to deal with such a threat including the creation of a missile defense system. Marshall Billingslea did not say which nations may be a threat to NATO members. He also did not give details of the current threat level. The comments came as Mr. Billingslea presented a report on threats and defense systems to NATO officials.

The United States commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan says he believes that Taliban rebel influence in some southern areas will weaken once NATO increases its troops there. General Karl Eikenberry made the comment during a press conference at the Defense Department Wednesday. He said the rebels are using new kinds of attacks such as bombings on roads, and bombers wearing explosives. But he also said he believes international coalition and Afghan forces will be able to bring the situation under control. General Eikenberry said that American forces will be able to work more on training the new Afghan security forces after NATO takes responsibility for the whole country. He said they will also be able to search for Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders.

Nepalese officials say rebels have kidnapped at least 5 policemen in an area southwest of Katmandu. Police say the incident happened late Tuesday in the Nawalparasi district. Rebel leaders declared a 3-month-ceasefire last month. The Nepalese government also announced a ceasefire. In other news, the rebels announced the formation of a 3-member-team for peace talks with the government. Reports say the spokesman for the rebels Krishna Bahadur Mahara will head the team. The rebels also said they have started returning land, and houses, seas during their 10-year-long rebellion.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has again faced calls for him to set a date to leave office. Opposition Conservative Party leader David Cameron told Mr. Blair in the House of Commons Wednesday to go, and go soon. The prime minister did not react to the comment directly. But he accused Mr. Cameron of having little to say on policy issues. Mr. Blair has refused to set a date for leaving, he said to do so would hurt the government and damage the country.

Briefly here again is the major news of the hour. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan says Iran has a responsibility to show the world its nuclear program is peaceful. The Israeli military says its aircraft fired 2 missiles into a Palestinian militant camp in the Gaza Strip. And Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is asking for unity in Iraq, he says it is an important step in stopping the violence. And that's the news in VOA Special English. This is Jim Tedder reporting.

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